Muslim Marine traveling the country in effort to fight Islamophobia stops by Portland
Portland, Oregon (KPTV) — A Baltimore man, who is a Muslim American and a U.S. Marine, is traveling the country in effort to fight Islamophobia and reach out to fellow Americans, and he stopped by Portland Wednesday afternoon.
Mansoor Shams has been traveling all over the nation in a effort to help fellow Americans understand the Islamic religion and the people who follow it.
“Do you know that loyalty is a part of my faith? So loyalty to country is a part of my faith. That’s why I can be a proud Muslim and a proud American and proud U.S. Marine,” said Shams.
Along with his sign saying “I am a Muslim and a U.S. Marine,” Shams has now been to four states with this campaign. He says he started in his hometown of Baltimore, then took his message to Denver. Most recently he went to Houston before coming to Portland.
“When you have real interaction with real people, it’s a game changer. So I’ve been in the campaign going around and say ‘okay, let me ask a Muslim, U.S. Marine anything,’ and lets have a conversation, lets have a dialogue about whatever misconception is going on in your mind,” said Shams.
Shams held his sign in Pioneer Courthouse Square Wednesday afternoon. He invited anyone to stop by and ask a question. And he means any question. Shams covers it all.
“They talk about Sharia law, they talk about homosexuality. They talk about my…they question my loyalty as a Muslim, even sometimes as a U.S. Marine. They talk about women’s rights,” said Shams.
Shams said he hopes what he’s doing will help people across the country really understand, and maybe even ease the fear that some people associate with the Islamic religion.
“Typical stereotype, lets be honest about it. A guy with brown skin, a beard, and people have those conceptions in their mind. I want to let people know they are not terrorist. They could be a U.S. Marine if you got to know them,” said Shams.
On Thursday, Shams will head up to Seattle for the day before returning home to Baltimore.